June 12, 2019 – Southern Momentum, a grassroots group of Volkswagen Chattanooga workers who oppose the United Auto Workers (UAW), today released the following statements from team members as voting begins at the facility.
“As a VW employee, I am able to be a single mom and pay a house payment so that I can provide for my child. Without VW, I couldn’t do that,” said April Ziegler, a team member at Volkswagen Chattanooga.
“My wife had cancer in 2009 and I lost everything I had while taking care of her. Then in 2011, Volkswagen gave me a call and hired me while my wife was still battling cancer. I now had a job that paid great and offered excellent benefits to be able to care for her even better while one of her pills was over $300 apiece and with my insurance I was only required to pay $20. Since then, I’ve not gotten everything I want, but I have been blessed and supplied with all I need,” said Darrell Belcher, a team member at Volkswagen Chattanooga.
“I was very excited and proud the day I started working at VW. The pay and benefits are excellent. Not only does the company take care of me, but it takes care of my family as well. I have met some great people in my 8+ years at VW who I also consider family. We are one team. One family. And we are all here for the same reason. Signed, a still excited and proud employee!” said Mary Morrison, a team member at Volkswagen Chattanooga.
“This is the best job I’ve ever had. VW has done so much for Tennessee, for Chattanooga, for MY family, and for me,” said Tom Haney, a team member at Volkswagen Chattanooga.
“Volkswagen has provided me a lot these past eight plus years, and I’d like to share why I’m so thankful. Most who really know me know how much I do love my job. Volkswagen provides me a job that allowed me to purchase my home, to provide nice vacations and life for my children. For a trade, this job not only allows me to do a good job for them, but it is a trade I can use outside of Volkswagen. I am thankful for the many hours and dollars they spent training me for this position. For the many people from different parts of life and the world that I have become friends with that will last a lifetime. Thank you Volkswagen for absolutely everything and for many, many more years to come,” said Carol Gruber, a team member at Volkswagen Chattanooga.
“I’ve been with this company going on nine years. I’ve always been treated fairly. In fact, I don’t recall ever seeing anyone I’ve ever worked with treated unfairly. In my eight plus years at Volkswagen, I’ve seen more second, and third, chances given to people that other companies would have gotten rid of. The running joke around the plant is that it’s harder to get fired than hired. This company has been good to me and my family with above average pay and benefits. I urge everyone to get out and vote. Vote no and support the company and the people that support you and your family. We can’t afford the risk of Volkswagen not being here one day,” said Rob Berger, a team member at Volkswagen Chattanooga.
“The first time I saw a truckload of Passats rolling down Volkswagen Drive, headed to customers, I was so happy and proud for everyone in the plant. We took this place from a muddy field to a car factory in just two years! Everyone together, from the guy sweeping a floor, to the top leaders, everyone worked together as one. To see it happen again with the Atlas is icing on the cake. I still feel the same way when I see cars made in USA. I see them in other places and wonder which of my coworkers built that one. Finally, I like that the company has so many opportunities for people to grow and advance. We have three people in our department who took advantage of the opportunities and moved from entry level assemblers up to engineering. Not many companies work hard to develop their people this way anymore,” said Kaye Fiorello, a team member at Volkswagen Chattanooga.
“Volkswagen has been good to me. One of my favorite benefits has been getting off from Christmas thru January 1 with pay on top of my 144 hours PTO and several paid holidays!!!” said Keri Menendez, a team member at Volkswagen Chattanooga.
Southern Momentum first formed ahead of the 2014 election at the Volkswagen Chattanooga facility, which the UAW lost by a vote of 712 to 626. Workers looking for more information can email [email protected].